Having spent my tournament trip money going to Yavin there was no Euros for me, but it was time for another tournament run for Pure Quick Swarm before my last Store championship in July.
I was initially going to tweak the squad so that Howlrunner had Crackshot but after a little play testing against my old Foe Man of Monkey, ‘Draw their Fire,’ gave more value and duration for the squad.
Pure Quick Swarm
Quick Draw Tie FO SF: Swarm Leader, Fire control Systems, Light Weight Frame, Targeting Syncroniser, Special Ops title.
Pure Sabacc Tie Striker: Veteran Instincts, Light Weight Frame, Adaptive ailerons title.
Scourge Tie Fighter: Adaptability
Howlrunner Tie Fighter: Draw their fire
It was a Star Wars 40th anniversary tournament at ibuywargames, the bank holiday Monday before the Euros.
For me this was another priceless exercise in exercising out the kinks in flying the squad. For others it was a last chance warm up before the Euros. Having already gone to Yavin and with the UK team tournament slated in the diary for October, I decided early on that with the Euros being a three day event I could not justify the additional price of the accommodation for three nights or leaving the wife with the kids for that amount of time. As a teacher she also has a stack of reports to write through her ‘half term holiday,’ and saddling her with the two small people while trying to do that would be, unpopular.
I was a bit sad at coming to that conclusion but ultimately it is what it is. I’m selling off a lot of my 40K stuff so maybe next year.
Player: Dave Robinson
List, (slightly hazy memory on this one)
Jess Pava: R3 A2, integrated astro mech
Snap Wexley: predator, R2, integrated astor mech, pattern analyser
Nien Numb: Rage, R2, Experimental interface, Pattern analyser, black one title
Result: Win 100–19
David had his work cut out after performing a clever feint and run away only to turn back in too soon which allowed me to pick his ships off one at a time.
Player: Martyn Chivers
U-wing FCS, tactical jammer, Jan Orrs
Biggs: R4-D6, integrated astro mech
Jess Pava: R2-D2, integrated astro mech
Rebel Tie Captain Rex
Result: Loss 39-100
I should have jousted. Instead I could not resist not jousting and setting up in the diagonal corner to try and pick off the lead U-wing before Biggs got into range. I messed up getting Quiickdraw not into range for this and only plinked the shields off as a result. The game see-sawed a bit but highlighted how fragile Sabacc can be just when you need him not to be.
Player: Mike Manners
Quick Draw Tie FO SF: Swarm Leader, electronic baffle, Light Weight Frame, Special Ops title.
Howlrunner Tie Fighter: crackshot
Black Squadron: Wingman
Result: Loss 51-100
I’ve been flying everything in formation and this was the one match up that required Sabacc to become Echo and flank. Part of the reason for targeting synchroniser is to duck back into range two to get the buff from it but I engaged poorly and in formation with Sabacc and paid for it early.
The highlight of this game was when both Quickdraws opened up with focus tokens and re rolls to hit and between their total ten dice managed all of three hits.
Player: Chris Ward
Lt Dormitz Epsilon shuttle. FCS, pattern analyser, Kylo Ren, Kylo title
2 x Zeta specialists Tie FO/SF: FCS, LWF,
Result Win 100-0
It was a bad match up for Chris and perhaps he should have just stuck the Upsilon down my throat to allow his Tie Fo/SFs to get a better position and perhaps win the battle of attrition after the first pass.
Player: Thomas Forstner (Zombie Squadron, UK nationals top 16)
Fenn Rau: Mindlink, Title, auto thrusters
Ventress: Mindlink, Latts crew
Palob: Mindlink, twin laser turret
Result Win 100-61
It started off well by gunning down Palob for no loss and whittling a bit off Ventress but this had allowed Fenn to attack from my rear. Fenn took out Howl runner, Sabacc and Scourge in relative short order whilst Ventress made a run for it on about four health. I had put two damage on Fenn earlier but Quickdraw was going to have to finish one of them off before time was called.
I managed to chase down Ventress and steer clear of Fenn but the combination of evade and Latts crew when in her mobile arc makes it hard to push damage through. I did manage to take out Ventress then have a late game one on one with Fenn.
It ended up as a range one shoot off with Fenn K-turned behind me. I used my target lock to get three hits and Tom blanked out on the dice. In return he scored three hits including one crit and I was on two hull at this point and rolled two evades. No direct hit thankfully.
Finished 8th out of 21, (3rd of 3-2 record)
Converting a loss to a win which was possible mid game in both defeats could have brought about a top four finish. I fell down when faced with two squads which were a bit more out there as such in terms of ‘the meta.’ Dealing with a reluctance to joust having played arc dodgers a lot is proving hard to overcome. The stats say I should be able to shoot down Biggs in one round if I take him head on which was possible if I had set up to joust Martyn’s squad from the other side of the table.
Two nights before the event I had started to question how squishy Pure Sabacc is and whether a more solid ship like a Tie Defender is a better option. I had found previously that a supporting Tie defender with X7 title helps add to the swarm leader’s damage output. I sent an Email through to Man of Monkey who rightly replied that changing anything the day before is silly. I wouldn’t say this is the nail in the coffin for the squad but I’m going to look at swapping Sabacc out and jiggling a few bits slightly.
The Maths is good, right?
The squad is dependent on hitting hard and fast and keeping the damage going to lessen the fragile green dice variance which is quite often unmodified green dice. Dropping Sabacc lessens the Alpha strike potential but makes it mid to end game stronger which if things go downhill a bit early on, it becomes very difficult to get back into the game. The red dice variance is not as harsh as the green but as proved on occasion if not getting all ships in the right position and tokened up it leaves the list vulnerable to the vagrancies of the dice gods.
Manoeuvring of the squad was better but running into two lists that were mild meta curve balls threw me a bit. I also feel that maybe I’m flying swarm leader incorrectly to maximise the output. I feel that Quickdraw is a good carrier for it, (along with Vessery or Backdraft), and Quickdraw’s pilot ability offers some interesting dynamics with it. Mike’s Rage and Baffle combination with four evade tokens available offers a very nasty alpha strike against other PS 9 or higher aces. The down side is that it takes away the deterrent of shooting at Quickdraw in that round. Even with my build I’m only offering up two evades because Sabacc is focusing for offence.
One Variant we discussed after our game was:
Quick Draw Tie FO SF: Swarm Leader, Fire control Systems, Light Weight Frame, Special Ops title.
3 x Black Squadron: crackshot
Howlrunner Tie Fighter: Crackshot
One of the other weaknesses I feel in the Pure Quick Swarm squad is a lack of a dedicated blocker. In the above squad you could swap two black squadrons for Scourge with crackshot and an academy. Mike said with his build he was having trouble pinning down Dash and Miranda, although he is not 100% certain whether that is just him of partly the squad.
A PS 1 blocker could be handy.
A rebel option?
I liked Martyn’s list and wondered if it could utilise swarm leader and I thought of this:
Y-wing Gold Squadron pilot: Twin laser turret, R3-A2, Title
Biggs: R4-D6, integrated astro mech
Jess Pava: R2-D6, integrated astro mec, Swarm leader
Rebel Tie Captain Rex: Sabines master piece, Jann Orrs crew
Two points still to play with which could be making the gold a grey squadron for PS4 or looking at illicit or some tech for Jess. I almost favour upping the gold to a grey due to contracted scouts in an effort to deny them a target lock in the opening engagement. Could be interesting but I’m sticking with the Imperials for now.
Stuck in a groove
If I can’t bring myself to straight up joust, changing the squad and flying style of it may have to be the way forward. Dropping Sabacc is one thing but maybe Howlrunner forces me to play the squad too rigidly for my play style. Also if I want to pump out multiple four or five dice attacks from Quickdraw then the overall positioning and ship make up needs to change a bit. Something like a Tie Defender could be an option as a flying partner to Quickdraw.
I’ve still got six weeks to play with adjustments so some time to tweak.